Tension Headache

Wednesday, 17 April 2013



Here are some pictures of boiled eggs cooling in a bowl of water (for egg sandwiches). Nice aren't they?
I'm hoping they will distract you from the slight mess I have made of my Ravilious blanket.


The bottom edge is some eight inches wider than the top.
It's a tension issue rather than a mysterious multiplication of stitches. I counted to be sure.
I was fairly galloping along as I did the last four stripes. I was listening to Bring Up the Bodies by that time and my concentration was clearly on the machinations of the Tudor court rather than on my tension.
What to do?
On the one hand as this blanket is designed to be thrown over a sofa or someone's knees does it matter that it isn't perfect?
On the other hand I'm not really happy with it as it is. I love the way the colours and stripes work but I think I'm going to have to unravel back to the biscuit-coloured stripe and tighten up my tension before I will be satisfied. I will put a narrow border around it when I've really and truly finished it.

Someone asked if I'd unravelled the granny squares. Yes, I did, thrift is my middle name.



37 comments:

  1. I love it. I am in awe of anyone who can make stuff out of yarn. I wouldn't bother unravelling the Ravillious but I am not a perfectionist...
    Ax

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  2. It's maddening isn't it. I think I'd have to unravel it in the end but with gritted teeth! I suppose it's necessary anyway if your going to work a border. I really enjoyed 'bring up the Bodies' I can quite see that your attention wasn't on that kind of tension.

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  3. typing too fast now - should have said 'you're going to add a border :-)

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  4. Well...if every time you look at it ....it annoys you...then ....pull...
    I totally get it..I would unravel it .....
    But...those socks you made !!!!!!!!!!!! Wow!! They are spectacular...
    I am so far from being able to knit socks....I can knit but not like that.....so beautiful!

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  5. The colours in that blanket are lovely. I can understand you wanting it to be perfect but before you unravel, have you thought about blocking it? Depending on what your yarn is made of, it's a bit of a miracle worker. For something the size of your blanket, I'd spray it over with warm water and waft a steaming iron over it to get it all pliable and then pin in out over a bed into the right dimensions until it is dry. If this doesn't work, this process might make it a bit more tricky to unravel but it might save you a bit of time and heartache.

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    1. Thanks for that advice Iliad. I know that blocking can transform crochet -granny squares are vastly improved by it. The difference in width is too great I think to block successfully.

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  6. It's amazing how beauty can be found in such simple things isn't it?! Love the blanket and agree with Iliad and remember that only God can make something perfect - I think it was the Amish who always wanted some imperfections in their work.

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  7. I love the colors. I would unravel it too, or it would always drive me nuts. Even if no one else ever noticed. I think it is really nice though, those colors are so soothing.

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  8. I love egg sandwiches. Years ago when I worked in the city of London I used to buy my lunch! (In my teens and didn't thrift like now) I used to have Egg and Tomato roll.

    Here is a tip that works for me. Make a foundation chain for a blanket with a hook two sizes up from the one you will crochet with. (If you crochet with a 4mm hook make the foundation chain with a 5mm hook.) The finish will them match the start.
    Julie xxxxxxx

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    1. Julie that's such a good tip. I will remember to do that next time. Thank you!

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  9. Gah! Seems to be the word for this. Can you get the children to stretch the other end?

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  10. It may not be perfect to you but I have to say I love it anyway!

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  11. First things first, your Ravilious stripes are lovely & very reminiscent of the soft colours of the paintings. As to the frogging question, these things are very trying to decide. Only you will know whether it will bother you and by how much if you push on regardless. If you decide to frog, my advice is do it quickly and when you have a good long stint of time to begin to make up old ground or it can just feel so depressing. Book an afternoon with Hilary Mantel and take the phone off the hook! Family should be aware that on this occasion the only food forthcoming will, be of their own conjuring and a stream of silently delivered cups of tea to the repairing frogger is most welcome! If you think on balance it won't worry you or be noticeable in use, hold your hand! Looking forward to seeing the end result whatever you decide! E x
    Ps your eggs look delightful and make me yearn for an old-fashioned egg sandwich like my mother used to make with that now slightly frowned-on product, Salad Cream! Mayonnaise is classier but the sandwiches just don't taste the same!

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth. Fortunately I am time rich and am quite happy spend time crocheting -I have Laurie Lee reading Cider With Rosie to look forward to.

      Chives and Hellmann's are my essentials for an egg sandwich.

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  12. Wonderful blanket Sue - the colours are fabulous.
    Don't lose any sleep over your 'big end'. I made a mahoosive granny stripe king size blanket in my first crochet days, and ended up with one end significantly wider than the other. My husband is always pointing it out and hooting with laughter, but actually, on cold winter nights, I have been glad of the extra width at the top of the bed to hold the duvet in place.
    So there, I tell him oftentimes.

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  13. What a lovely blanket Sue, I love the colours and how they reflect Ravilious palette and horizontal compositions. I think I would also have to unravel it, in the end it would be worth it, I think! Enjoy the sunshine... now I'm off to my exam revision (arrrgghhhh!!!). Pati x

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  14. Oh isn't it a pain when something like that happens ? I think that unravelling is the way to go... you will be satisfied when you see the re-done result. Somebody said that unravelling and redoing still counts as work, so well, it's a bit heartbreaking but worth it. (Been there ;-)

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  15. Hi Sue - why don't you edge it and adjust your tension in the opposite way (looser at the bottom, tighter at the top) and then block like mad. Between the two it should sort this out no problem. It is so lovely, and such a shame to rip it out.

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  16. Sue, your photographs of the cooling eggs are quite beautiful. What an eye you have!

    Now on to that crocheted blanket with the subtle colors. I have often faced a decision such as the one before you, and admit that often my knitting or crocheting has often gone astray somehow when my "multi-tasking" has led my concentration astray. (This has often happened in the evening when I am relying on artificial light, and my eyes are perhaps just a little tired.)

    Anyhow, I usually just take that first deep breath and start the unravelling. Once you get going with that part, it can actually be somewhat relaxing...you are on your way to getting good results. I'd rather look at a finished project and chuckle at how it actually got made one and a half times. xo

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  17. Eggs : brilliant photo. Love egg sandwiches. Helmans and chives defo essential.

    Blanket: kudos to you, missus, but I could not bring myself to frog all that work. No way. Block it. Add border, fiddling the tension as you go. Enjoy.

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  18. I would unravel too but it would piss me off to have to do it. Sorry. I am an avid fan of books about the Tudors so I understand how this could have happened. :)

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  19. Could you REALLY block it?

    I'd try that before undoing all that lovely work!!

    (Reading Wolf Hall... with google by myside. We don't do much Tudor history in Italy!! My ignorance is immense)

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    1. I've already unravelled!

      I found that being able to look at the Holbien portraits whilst listening to them being described a great help even though I studied the exact period for A level history.

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  20. Funny, I was just reading the Needle n Thread blog where Mary Corbet did a post on making mistakes while watching a movie, which she said she rarely does while stitching. She raises the issue of what you watch or listen to as you work. Both of you make me wonder how particular types of music could affect your work. Undoing mistakes is part of any craft. You wouldn't have been happy unless it was perfect. Surely, the work you redid was as satisfying as any other rows you knitted. Since your "biscuits" are different than Am. English biscuits, I had to muse over which stripe that was.

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    1. Ha! sorry about that -I meant the caramel coloured stripe. I think what you would call biscuit coloured I'd call scone coloured which is in fact the stripe I have gone back to. You are right about the redoing being as satisfying, after all I enjoyed crocheting them the first time round, why wouldn't I the second time? I am, after all, making it for my own pleasure.

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  21. The colours are beautiful but I know I would have to do the same. It can be hard being a perfectionist!

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  22. One of the great things about blogs is that you get such useful tips, sometimes, in the comments section. I'm definitely going to use that tip about making the foundation chain with a hook two sizes up. As for what one watches or listens to while crocheting/knitting, I don't watch or listen to anything. I enjoy the blessed silence and use the time to let my thoughts go where they will. Oh, and Hellman's is an absolute must for egg sandwiches.

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  23. The colours of your blanket is beautiful Sue, how very frustrating regarding the tension, I've learnt that unravelling is the best way as you'll always know and feel a little bothered by the difference in the width size. The yarn is pricy and its just worth doing as it will be with you forever x Hope its not too frustrating!

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  24. Lovely colours. Funny how your mind on other things affected your tension. I a not a perfectionist but I think the difference is too great and you would be better ripping it back.

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  25. I was going to suggest blocking it (I'm a crocheter of limited skill and have found that blocking corrects a multitude of sins!) but see from the comments that you've already unraveled it. I don't know if blocking could correct an 8 inch difference to be honest! At least you will be very happy with it when it's all done. :-)

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  26. Is the wider end the last bit you did? I usually get tenser and tenser as I progress, but you seem to have relaxed! Next time you will no doubt notice this much sooner, so at least this can be put down to experience. It will be beautiful when it's done, I am sure.

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    1. Yes, it got wider as I progressed. Experience is a great teacher.

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  27. A full wet block will fix it, ie not a spray blocking but full immersion and soak in tepid water. Then gently squeeze the water out and lay out on towels to dry, pulling the blanket to the right shape and dimensions. It will be fine and BEAUTIFUL!!

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    1. Alas, too late Suse, I have unravelled, but I will remember that tip.

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  28. I can totally empathise! I've had to unravel part of a mohair shawl I'm knitting... I mean, have you tried to unravel mohair?! I think its impossible! Its annoying isn't it, because just when you think you've finished you actually haven't! However I think you'll be able to crochet that up again in no time!

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  29. Whether you frog part of it or not I adore the colours. It's such a beautiful thing. It definitely reminds me of English landscapes and of that Ravilious painting with the white horse through the window of the train carriage.

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  30. Oh, how I empathise/sympathise - saw a friend today who knitted herself a 'loopy' jacket & half way sewing the seams she realised that the fronts were 4" shorter than the back. We still don't know how she managed that one -general senility possibly? Unravelling that loopy stitch is heart-breaking & tedious but she did it while I was there to distract her further and make the time go quicker.

    Egg sandwiches have to have salad cream and spring onions.

    By the way the blanket is beautiful.

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